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"Welcome to -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

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Messages - TM

Grandchildren / Internet relationships are so difficult
October 29, 2013, 06:36:18 pm
Hello all, well my life has moved on a lot since our DS was married and we now have a lovely little GS who is 5 mths old.  We visited a few weeks after he was born (we live in different countries) staying in a hotel and doing all we could to make a difficult time for new parents as nice as possible.  It was a good time and we enjoyed as much as we could without being overbearing.  All was well and we returned home with happy memories.
However, what I'm now finding so hard is being closed out of things on the internet (skype)which is the best way of communicating long distance and you can see each other like you were in the same room.  I leave my internet connection open at all times hoping they will 'pop in' when they have a few spare moments to let us see our GS.  Well, it hasn't worked out like that, I wait and wait and sometimes its a month between calls and I have to beg our DS (by SMS on the phone) for a time to have a call as they keep themselves showing as invisible so you dont know when they are on the internet.  Even when I will call at their given time our GS is whisked off by our DIL for any reason like bath time or food basically any excuse to cut short our precious little bit of contact.  I have tried to keep things on an even keel, pretending not to be hurt by this and hoping that it might change some day but its just not happening.  Our DIL is on every day to her own family who also live overseas (DS casually mentioned that) and our DS seems quite happy with the situation?  I find it so hard to accept and just can't understand it.  It's the almost begging ritual that is now wearing me (us) down.  My husband seems to be able to detach himself from it more than I can but it's so unfair and it hurts.
Anyway, I am starting to feel this is too painful to continue and am considering just letting things go silent and leaving it up to them to contact us, which to be honest hasn't worked at all up to now.  The time between calls is as long as I let it go before I relent and ask. I fear It might mean we have to accept a total break and just hope that somehow our son will come to his senses and see what is happening?  I also feel it will be playing right into my DIL's hands as I get the impression that she'd be quite happy if we disappeared never to be heard of again and only her family would be in their lives.
It's so hard I just dont know what to do. I dont want to turn away but what else to do as I cant get my head or heart around why this is happening. It's heartbreaking to be honest.  Help, I could sure do with some words of wisdom :(
Hi Whitney :-)
Things must be feeling very raw for you at the moment but you've come to the right place.  Lots of us here who've had similar experiences so you're not alone. :)
For me its just a little more than a year on from being where you are now.  I know all our experiences will be different but they have the same undercurrent that pins us together.  It hurts like hell.  We felt sick for weeks (DH too) after the wedding and it was hard not to think about it constantly and try to make sense of it.
We eventually decided to take control of what little we could in the situation. That was to respect ourselves, set boundaries re not accepting any further abuse, and get on with our lives.  We waited for our son to come to us and he did eventually.  There was no conversation about what happened and our relationship is not the same now, just different.
We keep ourselves busy with our own lives, doing everything that we would do if our relationship was still 'normal'.  We get together when they want to. We expect nothing so we're not disappointed and enjoy it when we get 'something' however small. 
In a way we've accepted the situation and set our son free to live his life in whatever way makes him happy.  We're there when they want us and busy enough with our own lives when they don't. We suspect MIL is still trying to control but realise DS will have to deal with that how he sees fit and he needs no extra pressure from us.
I realise that things happen for a reason and this is part of DS path and life lesson.  It's also been a lesson for us in that we've had to let go and let God (don't mean that in a preachy way) and trust that all will work out for the best.  Hopefully DS and DIL will find us easy to be around because we have no expectations and they will appreciate that?  It's all we can hope for.  It takes time Whitney but you will find your own way to give you peace, one day at a time.  Be gentle with yourself.
Helpful Resources / Re: I'm Still Your Mother
April 20, 2012, 01:03:06 am
Hi Artlady
I found a lot of inspiration in the book and no doubt you'll find some for yourself there too.
The biggest A'Ha for me was about not accepting guilt for our childs' behaviour/problems (guilt makes it more about US than THEM) and rather choosing regret which is basically guilt without the neurosis.  That has the effect of pushing the feelings of guilt and shame, anger confusion etc, which accompany it into the background.  You are then freed up to be emotionally able to listen and accept what they are saying, be part of the solution and available as a source of strength for them when they are confused and in pain themselves.
Happy reading!
Sorry, thanks again
Helpful Resources / Re: I'm Still Your Mother
April 05, 2012, 07:32:48 pm
Hi Luisa
So sorry I completely forgot about that in all my excitement.  Have quoted on my post in Adult sons/daughters as well.  Oooops, will remember in future!    ???
Working my way through and hoping to make sense of my DS and his estrangement.  After posting on here and receiving support and strength from the amazing women who replied I'd like to hope that i can one day give back to others in the same position.  Also trying to read as much as possible in an attempt to find out what we as parents may have done to cause problems and make things the way they are and just like so many who have been loving, kind and responsible we are groping around in the dark.
I recently came across this amazing book I'm Still Your Mother: How To Get Along With Your Grown Up Children by Jane Adams.  Wonderful and full of wisom for all different scenarios.  Has helped me more than I can say with it's insights and straightforward language.  A must read for anyone in pain.

I also posted this under the helpful resources topic and thought it might reach more people on this topic as well.   Good luck
Helpful Resources / I'm Still Your Mother
April 05, 2012, 07:01:55 pm
I came across the book I'm Still Your Mother: How To Get Along With Your Grown Up Children by Jane Adams.  Wonderful and full of wisom for all different scenarios.  Has helped me more than I can say with it's insights and straightforward language.  A must read for anyone in pain.
Hi Pam
thank you so much for your reply and every way of looking at this is valuable. 
I now realise that the main problem here is that our new DIL'S mother is the one calling all the shots.  I haven't gone into much detail about all the things that went on in the week running up to the big day, because I don't want to make it all sound petty, but the manipution that was being used was incredible to behold. A final very personal attack on me and my family came at the end of the big day when everyone had left and we were subjected to a rant. We all just looked at her in stunned disbelief while she stood there stamping her foot and yelling a load of nonsense.  The fathers were outside in the garden enjoying the last minutes of the day and actually getting a chance to enjoy each others company.  I politely but very firmly told her she would not speak to or treat us like that and we left when our cabs arrived, very timely.
We met the next morning, the two families for breakfast and when the newlyweds arrived they already knew about it.  Obviously even on their wedding night/morning she'd been on to her DD piling it on.  The hour we spent at breakfast she apologised and was all over me like a rash trying to be the friendly person I had hoped to meet in the beginning.  Her explanation was that it was just 'something she does'.  It was all a bit overwhelming and to be honest bizarre.  We left for the airport and headed home in a daze.  The newlyweds were also leaving on honeymoon shortly after us.
This all affected everyone and what should have been a wonderful time in all our lives was almost turned into a fiasco by one person.  Everything and everybody was in a tailspin and she was basking in the centre of it.  Now, I'm able to step back and look at it from distance it's easier to see but at the time you feel like you must be in the twilight zone. I've never come across anything like this.
We've never been overbearing parents and have held our children in open hands so it is difficult when you think you've got the last 30 years wrong and have done something awful.  It flies in the face of everything that has been good. 
It also does cross your mind to aim blame at your new DIL but we've got to know her over the 4 years and realised none of it fitted with her either but the dynamics when she was around her mother had all changed.  I realise now she had to conform and our son had to do the same and dance around the IL's for the whole week.  We felt like they were just wanting to please them and we were just there and of no consequence.  How blind.
I'm happier now that I can see more clearly I understand in some ways it could be easiest to blame your new SIL or DIL for upsetting the applecart when infact, as you say, it's all about trying to please everyone and balance it all.  I really feel for them they had to go through all this for one day.  It should have been a pleasure.  Fortunately we made sure the wedding day itself was truly amazing and the guests were oblivious.
On a final note our son told me on the morning of his wedding that when they are back in home country for a friends wedding (and we are also back visiting our elderly parents) that the MIL wants them to have a church blessing and a big party. DS and DIL did not want a church wedding but I suspect this was part of the bargain between DIL and Mum to keep her happy.  Guess what it takes up all their time and we are nowhere in the picture.
So, you see, it's all a bit of a conundrum. If you are like us and take the back seat to make it easier on your children and not cause problems then have to just take what the other IL's allow you to be thrown and you realise that YOU are also being manipulated by the bully.  The DIL also knows she is being manipulated but has done it all her life to keep everyone happy, prevent outbursts and will possibly continue to do so. Where does it all end?  It's a yucky situation and basically we have to swallow it and hope that our son will fight for our corner. Horrible, isn't it?  That can take a lifetime.  Who are the fools?  Who's right and who's wrong?
Hi Pen
Have read the open me first info.
Thank goodness for this forum.  Feel better already just sharing this with people who understand!
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd be in this position with one of my children. Feel like I'm dreaming and I'll wake up and it will all be gone....
Hi jdtm
and thank you so much for your reply.  Its good in one way to know we're not weirdos and this happens a lot but, on the other hand it's so sad.
You're right we do very much have the feeling that there's nothing we can do and it will be up to our son to fight for our corner.  We dont want to whinge about it to him and want him to see this for himself but right now he seems blinded. 
The other family are all women, the grandma,  2 girls and and the Mum who seems to be in charge.  The father came across as a nice man who just had to do what he was told.  He was the only one who tried to have a conversation with us and the other SIL was jumping around trying to keep his wife & his MIL happy.  He escaped every chance he got :)
We were totally blindsided by this.  If we'd had any warning it would be we like this we could have been prepared somewhat?  It just makes no sense, I feel like I'm in a bad dream.
Our family behaved impeccably.  I'm so proud of them as it was hard for them to witness this and be treated like that. Our second son is angry and the youngest confused.
Where do we go from here? 
We've wept and our minds are burned out trying to find reasons.  As you say, we will just have to live our lives, which fortunately are full of other good things, and take what we are given.   We have loved our new DIL since she came to us and will continue to do so and hope that she can see that. 
Thats about it. Not coping well right now but hopefully time will help.
Thanks again for your support.
Our son recently got married to our lovely new daughter in law who we love and have wecomed into our family.   We all live in different countries at the moment and all gathered in the bride and grooms new homeland for the wedding.  Our son and now wife have holidayed a lot with us and vice versa over the last 4 years or so and all has been well and we have got on brilliantly. 
We met our DIL parents for the first time a week before the wedding.  It wasnt easy as try as we might to be friendly and come all together they made it very clear by their cool behaviour it was not on.  Also, our son was treating his own family like we were just there while falling over himself to make sure they were ok.  It was quite embarrasing for us as we felt like 'guests' and of no real consequence.  Her family would do nothing to get to really know us and did their own thing.  We hosted an evening, cooking a meal for us all inviting them and treating them to our hospitality but to no avail.  It felt like they just wanted the wedding over with as quickly as possible with as little contact with us as possible and away.  Our son would not have any dialogue about it.  It would also appear regarding post wedding plans that the bulk of their time is going to be spent visiting with her parents/family where they live and we will be thrown a few crumbs.
We are totally floored.  We have no idea what on earth we have done to be treated like this.  Its like a bolt from the blue.  We cant believe our son behaved like this and think hes been abducted and replaced by an alien.  Its really bizarre.
I dont know what to do, have searched over and over and there hasnt been any problems nothing would cause something like this.   We have always been a close, loving family.  Please help somebody as we are at a loss.   Is this at all normal?  This is our first family wedding.  We have 3 sons and if this is what happens when they get married we are dreading the rest of our life.